The Arizona Cardinals had some issues with their special teams unit in 2014. They also had some things to celebrate.
For the second season in a row, Justin Bethel was the NFC representative at the Pro Bowl as a special teams player. Chandler Catanzaro, an undrafted rookie, was very good.
But then there was the return game, where Ted Ginn struggled both in punts and kickoffs. Aside from the one punt he returned for a touchdown to seal a victory over the New York Giants, his impact was not felt.
But overall, it turns out Arizona was one of the better teams in terms of their special teams unit. Based on how The Dallas Morning News' Rich Gosselin ranked teams, Arizona was 11th in the NFL and there was a significant dropoff from 11 to 12.
Gosselin took 22 special teams areas -- punt return average, kickoff coverage, etc. -- and ranked the team statistically in each area. Their ranking was their score. He added up all the rankings and then got a point value for the composite special teams score. Obviously, a lower score is better.
Arizona had 327 points, but that includes a couple of glaring scores of 32. They were dead last in kickoff return average and in starting position after kickoffs (19 yards per return and an average start of the 19-yard line).
On the other hand, despite going with a backup punter in Drew Butler, Arizona was number one in punts downed inside the 20.
Imagine if Arizona had gotten really anything out of the return game. They would be considered one of the best units in the league.
Will the Cardinals be able to see improvements in the return game? It has been two seasons in a row with little positive impact. Ginn didn't provide that punch. Javier Arenas and Patrick Peterson gave us nothing in 2013.
Who will get that chance in 2015?